Art from wanderings
Back where I started
In the frankfurt airport for ten hours, how did I manage that connection both ways? The bus I booked with Aileen (my couchsurfing host) had no translation option. Neither did the driver and some how that worked out smoothly.
I got to the airport at midnight, found an island of chairs (with arm rests :/) occupied by a few backapackers and I laid out on the floor for a while before relocating to the only plug I could find (and that didnt work). I listened to music and danced at a standup table, drawing for hours before moving on. A few rounds of this with a slightly changed environment brought the sun streaming through the window and a slowly moving baggage drop line.
I sit at the gate I flew into in September, listening to the playlist I made last September about (or for) “transitions” which should mean something different to me this time around.
Home, finally almost home.
I’ve made the trip home really long.
Berlin was as cool as everyone said. I find this rare. I saw great street art and did the free walking tour for three hours around the city. I wandered around by foot and metro and healed. When you levee bali, you not only have to pay fifteen dollars but you also, inevitably get sick (or so has been reported)
I took in as much Christmas as I could in Berlin. I went to Christmas markets every day to linger and watch ice skaters and drink hot wine and watch the craze. I sat inside, cozy with a peppermint candle, buried under blankets, and wore big socks and hats and scarves inside. I’m happy for winter and for family so soon!
I’ve been wondering what is so charming about Istanbul.
In every man I see my grandpa.
Conservative in self expression. In the use of color and patterns, in conversation, in smiles, in dance. The eyes become more keen to small shifts, for the expression exists, between the call to prayer and our next cup of cay.
Muted, overcast days give us the permission to nap into the night.
Cool hallways keep us cozied in our small room where daylight is allowed, or not allowed, depending on our motives.
The woman in the pastry shop, big sweater, slices our guilt in four and hands them over glass display cases of cold and savory pastries. We learn fast, and eat in jackets, scarves, hats. The bounds between inside and outside are minimal, and you will feel winter in Istanbul. You won’t erase it with heaters.
I love this.
The sun sets behind the ships that slowly move shipping containers into the sea. A bunny is used as a toy for passing families and men wander up the coast selling cay, hands in pockets, ears in hats & hoods. Don’t look from the sun, one distraction, and it’s sunk, a tiny red glow. Bright purple and orange lit clouds. We turn our backs to it, and walk the familiar and temporary streets.
Cats sleep and eat, well fed and housed here, keeping the rodents at bay and the tourists entertained.
Big fish play in the wake of the ferry to kadikoy, a daily experience, and one lira simit tease satiated bellies.
Soak it in honey and divide the check by 2.
December in Istanbul is beautiful. Everyone is cozied up in big dark jackets, tucked in scarves, baggy hats and gloves. They walk… but not too fast. Not New York City fast. The cool air welcomes deep sleep and long lazy mornings (for a tourist).
Breakfast of cucumbers, Labne, tomatoes, feta, and cay at a corner shop.
The first few nights we stayed by Galata tower, a great location to wander. We walked all over, up to Taksim and up the water. We watched the fishermen and drank fresh squeezed pomegranate juice. We practiced and practiced and practiced our ‘Tessekur ederum”.
Lots of incredible food. Mantis, Kofte, Doner, Durum, Kepab, Baklava, grape leaves, on and on.
We explored the turkish hamam. A little pricey but a great and unique experience. Entering the hamam that was built in 1550, we are greeted by a man and shown to a dressing room with clothes to change into. We are given wooden (and dangerous) clogs and shown to the large, open, hot room. There is a huge marble slab in the middle of the room, where we lay and sweat for about 40 minutes before we are introduced to the masseuses who walk us to the corners of the room and pour cool water over our heads (thank god). We lay on yet another marble slab and get quick massages and a soapy wash before we return to the central slab and finally relax outside with apple tea (which tastes like hot apple juice).
The last few nights, we’ve been staying on the Asian side, in Kadikoy. Cute bars, fun night life, and beautiful streets of daily life.
I’m really enjoying Istanbul. Beautiful and delicious!
Tomorrow, we move to the Old City for the final few days, then Berlin for me (Amsterdam for Donnie) and home for Christmas!
Everything is numbered.
That crept up and now every meeting, every dance, every meal may be our last. It’s happy too, only good things coming, but I’ve settled in deep to this place.
I like going to sleep to crickets and barking geckos, waking up to sweeping and to loud, unstoppable roosters. I like when I have to miss yoga because a downpour refuses to let up and the thunder interrupts the conversation at all the right times, when you can’t order half of the juices on the menu because it’s not the season and you can’t get durian because the man who sells it on the side of the road every day didn’t show up today. When the cows and the dogs play outside the window of our kitchen, blenders roaring over Michael Jackson, love frequencies and improv poetry slams.
I like stillness and motion and where they meet. Being in a group and alone and where they meet.
I’m as happy as I’ve ever been when I get to dance in the night and yoga in the morning, eat nourishing food over stimulating conversation, and hydrate with coconuts from up the street, up the sky. Where am I? What life is this? Whose ?
Sundays, everyone comes together. We dance in the daylight, like crazy people, wild & unstoppable. We eat together and go to a drum circle for music, dancing, hoola hoping, acro yoga, bali soccer, and our sacred ice cream. Before we make our separate ways to dragonfly village. A sanctuary in the rice paddies. Cared for by the sauna, the campfire, the pool, hot & delicious tea, and our favorite DJ.
We leave at nine, to sleep to sleep to sleep.
This is a special place.
The weekend has great meaning when it belongs to you, and the week, to someone else.
Today, I feel my best again.
Slept in and wrote. Our neighbor and friend nick played an incredible show last night. A beautiful mix of Indonesian and English, enlightened spirit and inspiring energy. I listened from the floor and soon danced all over the room with everyone visiting. So much awe and wonder in his eyes.
Saturday morning, we got silly directions to a secret beach.
“It’s a right at the petrol station then a left about 200 meters after the road you would take to Alex’s house, then you will see a big baby buddha and turn left, over a bridge, through a traffic light, then turn left and you’re there. Black sand and strong waves.”
Luckily, people are friendly and this place is beautiful.
We stopped for directions and soup in the sun on the road side before carrying on.
Black sand beach to pull from us and resurface.
Healing wounds and offerings scattered across the sand.
Hydration at the local shop brings new friends, two balinese women and two men. So friendly and speaking love words in English, “I love you my darling” ” you like me” and on.
A man, with the traditional head wrap on drinks a huge bintang and pulls out a tiny bottle of green liquid for scratches.
Trust is a strange thing.
We bike for nearly an hour back, in and out and in and out stopping for juices and peace. Just for a second. When did we have friends and life in ubud? And what happens after we say goodbye?
A kirtan concert brings caravans from ubud out to five elements. A cross legged crowd listens, sings with Kevin James and soon, dancing persists in the back with the stomping, romping little boys and the giggling staff on cell phones. The energy is from the group as a whole, and I take space from it, backing out… Just enough.
Sneaking home together, thunder comes from afar and the stars shine above clear skies. Coconuts and dinner, appetizing on chocolate.
Its beautiful here. We are beautiful here.